Return of Concerts!

Almost 18 months after its last public performance at the Welsh Regionals Championships 2020, Pontardulais Town Band was delighted to perform two concerts in August 2021 in the local area.

The first was a fantastic ‘Night at the Movies’ concert at The Clubhouse at Pontardulais Golf Club on August 14th as part of its summer series of concerts.

The second was a free ‘Music from the Movies’ concert held at Coed Bach Park in Pontardulais, on Bank Holiday Monday August 30th. The event saw an audience numbering in the hundreds with garden chairs in hand enjoy an afternoon picnic while being entertained by the band.

The past 18 months has been a difficult period for the band, as it has been for everyone, but despite being unable to carry out normal band activities, there has been a lot going on ‘behind the scenes’.

Virtual Performances

Though the band has been unable to perform in person since the start of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the band has tried to embrace the lockdown trend of ‘virtual performances’ as a means of keeping its members engaged and trying to bring some welcome relief to its supporters in difficult times.

The first was our Virtual Annual Concert, compered by Band President Garry Owen, which featured performances recorded at previous Annual Concerts and footage and photos collated by current band member Jayne Kinnear.

Next was a video released on Remembrance Sunday, which again featured recordings, footage, photos and newspaper clippings collated by Jayne Kinnear. The video also included recorded performances of Pontarddulais Male Choir.

Christmas soon followed and saw the band release a series of videos daily in the run up to Christmas Day, showcasing recordings from previous Christmas Concerts, in addition to three new videos which had been created using recordings created at home by individual band members and combined to create a single ‘Virtual Perfomance’.

Vaccination Clinics

With the wonderful news of a COVID-19 vaccine having been created at the turn of the year, the band answered the call and made the bandroom available as a venue for vaccinations from February 2021. A huge thank you to the team at Tal-y-Bont Surgery for their hardwork in administering the vaccine to so many local residents, some of which included members of the band!

Online Contesting

With so many brass bands around the country embracing the trend of virtual performances, the Cory Band and Kapitol hosted an Online Brass Band Championships, where Pontardulais Town Band competed in the 1st Section.

Having enjoyed the experience so much, the band entered Foden’s Band’s Online Whit Friday Championships a couple of months later, again competing in the 1st Section.

Bandroom Upgrades

The band are grateful to have been awarded grants to facilitate some much needed bandroom improvements, which took place in the Spring. These included replacing the flooring, replacing the boiler and installing radiators, re-tarmacing the car park and fitting new gates.

The band are also fortunate to have been awarded grants to purchase gazebos, which allowed the band to rehearse outdoors when COVID-19 restrictions and guidance (and the weather!) allowed.

Indoor Rehearsals

With the relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions in May 2021, the band was finally able to re-commence indoor rehearsals, though not at the band room due to the size of venue needed to meet the minimum spacing required between players to conduct safe rehearsals. The band are grateful to have been allowed the use of Penygroes Memorial Hall for this purpose.

Foden’s Band Online Whit Friday Championships 2021

Having enjoyed its first taste of virtual contesting with the Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships, the band entered the Online Whit Friday Championships, run by Foden’s Band.

The contest was broadcast on the 28th and 29th of May, the weekend the Whit Friday contest usually takes place in the Tameside and Saddleworth areas.

A total of 119 bands from around the world entered the contest, performing 57 different marches! In true Whit Friday fashion, all bands competed against each other, but with prizes awarded to the highest placed bands in each section. The contest was adjudicated by Michael Fowles.

Pontardulais Town Band were band number 38 in the draw, performing ‘The Contestor’ by T. J. Powell, which starts at around 2:56:10 in the video below.

The band were pleased to be placed 35th overall (from 119) and 15th in the 1st Section (from 24).

Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships 2021

The band were thrilled to compete in the Kapitol Cory Online Brass Band Championships 2021, a virtual music contest broadcast live on YouTube and hosted by the Cory Band. Broadcast over three successive weekends in March, the contest included Championship, 1st to 4th, University and Youth Sections, with bands entering from all around the world!

Pontardulais Town Band competed in the 1st Section, broadcast on 20th March in a field of 12 bands. The adjudicators for the section were Cory Band members Chris Thomas, Simon Howell and Helen Williams.

The entire contest is worth watching, but if you only want to view our entry, it starts at 1:12:57 in the video below.

The running order for the section was as follows:

  1. Coalburn Silver Band (Scotland)
  2. Strabane Brass (Northern Ireland)
  3. Johnstone Band (Scotland)
  4. Pontardulais Town Band (Wales)
  5. Dallas Brass Band (USA)
  6. Langley Band (England)
  7. Seindorf Arian Deiniolen (Wales)
  8. Freckleton Brass Band (England)
  9. North Skelton Band (England)
  10. Drogheda Brass Band (Republic of Ireland)
  11. Wotton Silver (England)
  12. Strata Brass (England)

Christmas Videos 2020

The ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic has unfortunately restricted our ability to spread some much needed Christmas cheer in the local community.

Instead of public performances at local supermarkets, pubs, in the community and of course our annual Christmas concert, we are delighted to share a selection of past performances of our favourite Pontardulais Town Band Christmas pieces to put you in the festive mood.

As we countdown to the big day, we will be posting a new piece every day, including something VERY special on the weekend of the 19th/20th.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page, or check this page for updates!

24th December – We Wish You A Merry Christmas

For our final video, a socially distanced offering of the piece we normally finish our carol playing sessions with.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Christmas videos, we end with a message from the Chair of Pontardulais Town Band:

This year has proved to be a difficult one for us all. We are very grateful to all of you for your support in these very challenging times and value your continued assistance. The committee has been busy in working together and collaborating in keeping our members safe. We are now looking forward to the future in 2021 and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Sue Aldrich
Chairperson, Pontardulais Town Band

23rd December – The Twelve Days of Christmas

Time for a sing-along! This has become a bit of a tradition at our annual Christmas Concert!

22nd December – (Not So) Silent Night

Now a different take, by Jonathan Mead, on the classic Silent Night, performed by the Senior, Training and Beginner Bands. Definitely another one to watch until the end…

21st December – Mary, Did You Know?

A change of pace today with this piece, arranged by our solo horn player, Tara Smith.

20th December – Santa Claus-Trophobia

Next up is the second of our special videos, recorded especially for this Christmas!

19th December – Jingle Bells

Here is the first of the special videos as promised, recorded especially for this Christmas!

18th December – Winter Wonderland

Another festive favourite today!

17th December – Christmas Overture

How many Christmas songs and carols can you count in today’s offering?

16th December – One Day I’ll Fly Away

Next up is a solo from our soprano cornet player, Kevin ‘Snowman’ Shanklin. Once again, keep watching for the hidden bonus track at the end…

15th December – A Christmas Adventure

Today’s piece feature a solo from our solo horn player, Tara Smith.

14th December – Jingle Bells

Now a joint effort from the Senior, Training and Beginners Bands.

13th December – O Holy Night

Next up, we feature our solo euphonium player, Lyndon Harris. Watch to the end for an extra treat…

12th December – Festive Intrada

Sit back, relax and enjoy our first piece, Festive Intrada – do keep a look out for a very naughty elf…

Remembrance Sunday 2020

Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic there is no Remembrance Parade in Pontarddulais this year. This video, using footage from previous years’ parades and the 2018 WW1 100 Years Remembrance Concert, as well as contributions from Pontarddulais Male Choir and Pontarddulais Town Band, has been put together as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Arts Council of Wales Funding

Arts Council Of Wales

The band are delighted to have been awarded a generous grant from The Arts Council of Wales, funding which has been made available by the Welsh Government as part of its Cultural Recovery Fund.

The grant will go a long way in helping the band continue its activites as best as possible during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

The band are very grateful to The Arts Council of Wales for the awarding of this grant and for its continued support.

Further information is available in the news release on The Arts Council of Wales website.

National BBC Coverage

The band’s first ever ‘Virtual Concert’, published during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and associated fundraiser has been featured by BBC Cymru, both in a television news broadcast on Sunday 13th July and online.

The news item can be read on the BBC Cymru website (in Welsh) with the televised item also available on the BBC Cymru website or below.

The Virtual Concert is available to view from the Virtual Concert post on this website.

As mentioned in the news feature, if you would like to make a donation to the band, please follow this link to the band’s current campaign on GoFundMe.

Virtual Annual Concert 2020

The band was sadly unable to hold its Annual Concert at Pontardulais Comprehensive School, scheduled for July 4th, due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the band were delighted to share its first ever Virtual Concert, which included some of its highlight performances and outstanding soloists’ contributions from previous Annual Concerts. The virtual compere for the evening was Band President, Garry Owen.

The band hope you enjoy the concert and encourage you to share it with your friends and family to enjoy too.

As mentioned at the end of the video, if you enjoyed the concert and would like to make a donation to the band, please follow this link to the band’s current campaign on GoFundMe.

Programme

Men of HarlechTraditional
1. Ol’ Man RiverOscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern, arr. Mark Freeh2015
2.Prelude on Two Welsh Hymns Jonathan Mead 2019
3.Stardust
Guest Soloist: Chris Thomas – Trombone
Hoagy Carmichael arr. Bill Geldard2015
4.Green Hornet
Guest Soloist: Tom Hutchinson – Trumpet
Billy May arr. A. Morrison2018
5.Ballade
Guest Soloist: Sheona White – Tenor Horn
J. Golland2019
6.The World’s Greatest Storyteller Philip Harper2017
7.Salsa Tres’ PradoPhilip Harper2017
8.Helter Skelter
Soloist: Sara Llewellyn
W. G. Lemon arr. Ray Woodfield2019
9.Tale of the DragonPaul Lovatt-Cooper2019
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Welsh Regional Championships 2020

The band was placed 6th in the 1st Section at the Welsh Regional Championships 2020, held on February 29th at The Great Hall on Swansea University’s Bay Campus.

The set test piece was a new work by Welsh composer Tom Davoren titled ‘Legacy’, and the adjudicators were Alan Morrison and Jonathan Pippen.

Despite the low placing, the result has seen the band retain its 1st Section status for next year, following promotion back into the 1st Section in 2019.

Full results for the section are below.

PositionBandConductorDraw
1B. T. M. BandJeff Hutcherson4
2Tylorstown BandGary Davies1
3Deiniolen Silver BandLois Eifion5
4Lewis Merthyr BandCraig Roberts6
5Parc & Dare BandLewis Wilkinson7
6Pontardulais Town BandPaul Jenkins2
7Newport Borough BandRobin Hackett3

Best Instrumentalist: Dylan Williams – Cornet (Deiniolen Silver Band)